The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir
GM note: A player had been recounting stories from our adventures to a relative for a while, so I invited that relative to join.
Introducing Averiela the Elf. Her name means “Truth Seeker”. She’s 1,300 years old and lives in an ancient realm hidden in the deep forest. She’s 5’10” and has deep eyes, like looking into time itself. Those eyes, and her braided hair, are hidden under the hood of her color-changing cloak. Usually the change in color is decorative, but she can empower it with her Elven magic to perfectly match the surroundings and make her invisible. She travels with a pet wolf, Nose-Too-Much, and a unicorn whose true name is untranslatable, so she calls it Whitesand. She and her people only venture from the forest rarely, but on a previous outing, Whitesand met Dryden when he was coming to this continent and searching for Lucia. Dryden took a mold of Whitesand’s hoofprint in the clay of a riverbank, and Whitesand touched the hoofprint with its horn, adding a sparkling star-shape to it.
GM note: 1,300 years old? I don’t have notes that go that far back, but I have to reveal the obvious things that happened 100 years ago that even a secluded Elf would notice, like the disappearance of the Dragons, and the appearance of the Moon.
Last time, Lucia and Dryden stumbled into a hunting expedition which spread into a confused melee, but everyone retreated and they were left alone on the battlefield. Dryden and Lucia search for the pieces of Dryden’s flying disc, which was destroyed with a flick of Haku’s powerful tail.
Lucia Look Closely 6-
Lucia sees a piece near the lake that Roddy retreated into, but she kicks it down the hill in front of her and chases it until it falls in the water and disappears. Out in the middle of the lake, she sees bubbles rise to the surface. The bubbles stop, but reappear after a few seconds. Their timing is regular. Suspicious. Now that she’s down by the shore, she’s on the other side of a chest-high boulder and sees a hole in this side of the rock that leads down into the ground.
Averiela is over the next hill. She sensed a deep evil and set out to make it right. Nose-Too-Much indicates that familiar people are nearby! She and her pets come over the hill and see Dryden and Lucia. Averiela greets them from afar. Dryden returns the traditional hunter’s greeting. (It’s the Vulcan salute)
GM note: Seeking a deep evil? I have several to choose from! Please integrate your personal quest into my lore!
Lucia explains that they were just in an interesting battle. Averiela heard that battle from across the Singing Hills. Unfortunately, the pieces of the flying disk are lost. Dryden will have to start from scratch to build a new one.
Lucia: That flying disk has gotten us out of many a sticky situation.
The three humanoids have gathered at the mysterious boulder.
Dryden: There’s a poorly misguided but very talented sniper down this hole.
Dryden explains the battle, and the unicorn sword he recovered from Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn. Making a weapon from the healing horn of a peaceful creature is an atrocity, so Dryden has to be careful about how he shows it to people. Whitesand is right there! Dryden explains that he unlocked the healing potential in the horn, so it can be used for good now.
Dryden: In order to heal the wrongs of the world you must pierce something!
The hole in the boulder leads to a stone spiral staircase that goes down into darkness. The humanoids and the wolf can fit easily, but it would be a tight squeeze for Whitesand. Averiela tells Whitesand to wait in a nearby forest. She can Whisper On The Wind to tell Whitesand where to meet up with her later.
Dryden Strange Curios (useful) – light sources
None of them can see in the dark, so Dryden reaches back into his cloak and pulls out some simple items that he made when he was a young boy. Wands were popular back then, so he made several different kinds of luminous wand: a narrow spotlight, an all-around glow, even some that flash or change color. Now they can see their surroundings. A room cut out of the rock. Ten by twenty feet, and six feet high. Low stone benches. The wall opposite the staircase is open to the side of a round tunnel that’s as wide as a two-lane road, and half full of water. Pointing the wand one direction down the tunnel, they see water flow in from above at the same interval as the bubbles in the lake above. Pointing the other way, the tunnel stretches a long way into the darkness. This looks like a bus stop, but everything seems old and disused. It’s mostly stone, so decay is very subtle and slow.
Averiela Look Closely 10+
Averiela Touch The World Lightly
Averiela takes a wand and walks on the surface of the water down the tunnel a ways. She feels the motion of a large underwater creature through her feet. It does not notice her, and she returns to report to her companions. Despite the threat of the large hidden creature, they all want to continue down the tunnel.
Averiela: Is there anything for you mortals to float on?
Dryden is excited. He’s just figured out a problem that he’s been working on for three and a half months! When he reaches back into his cloak, he’s not pulling objects out of hidden pockets. He’s actually teleporting items from his collection back home. So far he’s only been able to bring magical items through, but he’s cracked the puzzle of safely bringing living creatures through his cloak.
Dryden Strange Curios (useful) – flotation device
Dryden reaches into his cloak and pulls out a giant pond turtle! In the turtle’s language, his name is “Ancient One” Dryden and Acnient One have developed a system over the years. Dryden stands on ancient One’s back and skips a stone in the direction he wants Ancient One to go. Ancient One will go to the stone and retrieve it. Dryden can tap on Ancient One’s shell to signal him to continue in that same direction, or he can skip the stone somewhere else. Lucia and Dryden ride on Ancient One’s shell. Averiela walks on the surface of the water, carrying Nose-Too-Much across her shoulders, because he doesn’t like getting wet.
As they travel down the tunnel, the underwater creature reveals itself, rising up and blocking the whole width of the tunnel. It’s a huge armored crocodile. It’s helmet comes to a sharp point at the end of its snout, perfect for ramming ships,
Armored Crocodile, Boss of Underground Waterways
- Teeth and Screaming
- Armored Platform
- Threat To The World
Dryden: There’s not much meat on me!
A man emerges from an armor-plated howdah on the Crocodile’s back to challenge them.
Brainiac, exiled Vizier of Thaumatown
- Chess Pieces: allies take hits for them
- Part Of The Plan: When something goes wrong, damage this stat to make a Hard Cut
- Too Clever For Their Own Good: while monologue when things go well
Brainiac: I am the ruler of this subterranean labyrinth!
Dryden counters by hyping up Lucia’s royal status.
Lucia Royal Treatment: rulers will offer a room and a meal
Brainiac bows formally and asks them to come aboard. The Armored Crocodile lowers its head so they can step up to it. Lucia and Dryden go to the armored howdah, but Averiela prefers to stay outside with Nose-Too-Much and Ancient One. The Armored Crocodile sniffs Ancient One in an uncomfortable, but not immediately threatening manner.
Brainaic’s quarters inside the howdah are simple, but high-tech. It’s lit by softly glowing cylinders. Brainiac knows protocol, and treats Lucia how royalty should be treated.
Lucia Speak Softly 7-9
In the conversation, Brainiac reveals that the underground tunnels are a secret transportation network. He is not from here originally, but is on a quest to regain his former position. He must claim a Source Of Power. From the way he talks about his quest, and his determination to fulfill it, Lucia gets the sense that Brainiac is ruthless, and if he determines that they have something that is useful to him, he’ll take it by force! Dryden tries to make friends.
Dryden: You know, I’m trying to collect magical artifacts as well!
Brainiac is very interested in what Dryden has found. Dryden backpedals, saying he hasn’t had much success. Dryden wants more information from this guy.
Dryden Talk Sense (+Grace, dazzle) 10+
Dryden asks for more information about the quest Brainiac was sent on, and commiserates about difficult quests. Dryden himself was sent on a difficult by a vampire! Brainiac reveals that he was sent out as punishment for not handling a crisis to his master’s satisfaction. His master is the great Wizard Allan A Zham! That name doesn’t mean anything Lucia or Dryden. He was sent to find a Source of Power under a volcano, but there are two volcanoes! Lucia and Dryden share a worried glance. They found a lost library from the Forgotten Lands inside an extinct volcano. They don’t want this ruthless, intelligent person to get his hands on all that knowledge.
Dryden Finish Them (+Wisdom) advantage, relating to his experiences 7-9
Dryden commiserates. The vampire that sent him on a quest also didn’t give good information, so he wasn’t able to find what the vampire wanted. He can only tell Brainiac where not to go. Brainiac wants to do something nice for his guests, so he prepares milkshakes. He opens a small metal box that releases fog like it’s very cold, and puts the ingredients in a little electric blender. He flavors the milkshakes with fruit from crates that show signs of violence. The machines are no doubt his, but he stole all this food from other people. Brainiac asks if they know about the two volcanoes. Lucia says there’s a dragon living under the smoking volcano.
Brainiac: Aha! Great! Useful!
He makes ready to set out, and grants the group free passage through his realm for their help. Lucia and Dryden return to Ancient One, and the Armored Crocodile sinks under the water and disappears. They recount their conversation to Averiela.
Averiela: I’m a little concerned about the information you youngins passed along.
Lucia: We didn’t tell him about the library.
GM note: No end of session move. I checked in with Averiela’s player to make sure they didn’t feel left out, since most of the action was a conversation that Averiela was not present for. They assured me that they are an observer, so low participation is OK. I’ll continue to check in, since they are such a new player. I want them to have a good experience!